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Stu Miller
Stu Miller.png
Born: (1927-12-26)December 26, 1927
Northampton, Massachusetts, U.S.
Died: January 4, 2015(2015-01-04) (aged 87)
Cameron Park, California, U.S.
Batted: Right
Threw: Right
MLB debut
August 12, 1952, for the St. Louis Cardinals
Last MLB appearance
April 23, 1968, for the Atlanta Braves
MLB statistics
Win–loss record105–103
Earned run average3.24
Career highlights and awards

Stuart Leonard Miller (December 26, 1927 – January 4, 2015), nicknamed The Butterfly Man,[1] was a pitcher in Major League Baseball who played for the St. Louis Cardinals (1952–56), Philadelphia Phillies (1956), New York/San Francisco Giants (1957–62), Baltimore Orioles (1963–67) and Atlanta Braves (1968). He batted and threw right-handed. In a 16-season career, Miller posted a 105–103 record with a 3.24 earned run average, 1164 strikeouts, and 154 saves in 704 games pitched (93 as a starter).

Playing career

Miller was named an All-Star for the Giants in 1961.[2] Manager Alvin Dark thought Miller's 1961 season was the best of any relief pitcher who ever played for Dark. "It got so the starters would work seven innings and look to the bullpen expecting to see him running in."[3]

He was involved in one of the more memorable moments in All Star Game history, albeit for an exaggeration of the event in question. In the ninth inning of the first of two 1961 All Star Games (two were played between 1959 and 1962), which was played at Candlestick Park, a gust of wind caused Miller to sway slightly, resulting in a balk,[4] which advanced Roger Maris to second and Al Kaline to third. In the embellished version, it is reported that the wind gust blew the 165-pound Miller off the pitcher's mound.[5] Kaline later scored on an error by Ken Boyer on Rocky Colavito's ground ball, which tied the score at 3–3. One batter later, the wind caused catcher Smoky Burgess to drop Tony Kubek's foul pop-up for an error. Miller bailed Burgess out by striking out Kubek, and after Yogi Berra reached base on Don Zimmer's error, Miller got Hoyt Wilhelm to fly out to left to end the inning. In the top of the 10th inning, the defense behind Miller almost did him in; Nellie Fox walked and scored all the way from first on Boyer's three-base throwing error (the second by Boyer in as many innings) on Kaline's ground ball. Miller's teammates bailed him out in the bottom of the inning and made him the winning pitcher; Hank Aaron singled and scored on a double by Miller's Giant teammate Willie Mays to tie the score, then Mays scored the winning run on Roberto Clemente's single.[6]

In 1962, Miller had his highest ERA since 1956, posting a 4.12 mark in 59 games (107 innings pitched), going 5–8 with 19 saves.[7] Thinking he was washed up, the Giants traded him along with John Orsino and Mike McCormick to the Baltimore Orioles for Jack Fisher, Billy Hoeft and Jimmie Coker on December 15, 1962.[8] He responded with a strong 1963 season in which the Associated Press reported, "Little Stuart has never been better."[1] His record on the year was only 5–8, identical to his numbers from a season ago, but Miller led the American League in games (71), games finished (59), and saves (27) now serving as the Oriole closer; his ERA was 2.24, lowest since his rookie season.[7] He and Leon Wagner were tied for 19th in AL MVP voting after the season.[9] Miller finished seventh in MVP voting in 1965, a year in which he had a 14–7 record, a 1.89 ERA, and 24 saves.[2] His 1.89 ERA remains the lowest in franchise history since the team moved from St. Louis after the 1953 season.[10]

On April 30, 1967, Steve Barber and Miller combined to pitch a no-hitter for the Orioles against the Detroit Tigers, but would lose 2–1. Miller entered after Barber, who walked ten batters, gave up the tying run on a wild pitch with two outs. A ground ball to shortstop should have ended it for Miller, but Mark Belanger misplayed it, his error allowing the winning run to score.[11][2]

On May 14, 1967, he gave up Mickey Mantle's 500th career home run.

Jim Palmer credited Miller for helping him become a better pitcher. "I learned from guys like Stu Miller. I sat out in the bullpen with him when I was nineteen and watched and listened. It was like graduate school."[12]

Stu Miller Field in Northampton, Massachusetts
Stu Miller Field in Northampton, Massachusetts

Pitching Style

Miller's "Butterfly Man" nickname came around as a result of his ability to fool hitters with a slow curveball.[1] His fastball only topped out in the 80-mph range, but Miller relied on a deceptive delivery to get batters out. "He was the epitome of an off-speed pitcher, but he could get people out," teammate Eddie Watt said of Miller. "He had just tremendous deception and no fear at all." According to Miller, a catcher told him he could catch his pitches with pliers. "Really, my fastball was in the mid-80s, at most, and the changeup was a good 8 mph less. But both pitches looked the same, which was the secret to my deception," Miller said.[2]


Miller died January 4, 2015, at his home in Cameron Park, California, aged 87 after a brief illness.[13]

See also


  1. ^ a b c Reichler, Joe (July 17, 1963). "Orioles Get Help from Slow Curves". The Sumter Daily Item. Retrieved January 22, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d Encina, Eduardo A. (January 6, 2015). "Former Orioles relief pitcher Stu Miller dies at 87". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved February 10, 2020.
  3. ^ Dark, Alvin; Underwood, John (1980). When in Doubt, Fire the Manager: My Life and Times in Baseball. New York: E. P. Dutton. p. 84. ISBN 0-525-23264-8.
  4. ^ "Stu Miller, All-Star Who Committed a Windblown Balk, Dies at 87". The New York Times. Associated Press. 6 January 2015. Retrieved 2 February 2017.
  5. ^ Faraudo, Jeff (9 July 2011). "An ill wind: Stu Miller denies being blown off Candlestick Park mound at 1961 All-Star game in San Francisco". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved 2 February 2017.
  6. ^ "National League 5, American League 4: All-Star Game Played on Tuesday, July 11, 1961 (D) at Candlestick Park". Retrosheet. July 11, 1961. Retrieved January 5, 2015.
  7. ^ a b "Stu Miller Stats". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved January 22, 2020.
  8. ^ "Giants, Orioles Exchange Hurlers in Six-Man Deal," United Press International (UPI), Saturday, December 15, 1962. Retrieved March 1, 2023.
  9. ^ "1963 Awards Voting". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved January 22, 2020.
  10. ^ "Baltimore Orioles Top 10 Single-Season Pitching Leaders". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved April 21, 2020.
  11. ^ "Apr 30, 1967, Tigers at Orioles Play by Play and Box Score". Retrieved January 5, 2015.
  12. ^ Palmer, Jim; Dale, Jim (1996). Palmer and Weaver: Together We Were Eleven Foot Nine. Kansas City: Andrews and McMeel. p. 87. ISBN 0-8362-0781-5.
  13. ^ "Former Giants pitcher Stu Miller dies". ESPN. Associated Press. January 5, 2015. Retrieved January 5, 2015.

Further reading

External links

Preceded by Sporting News National League Reliever of the Year
Succeeded by
Preceded by No-hit game
April 30, 1967
with Steve Barber
Succeeded by
This page was last edited on 1 March 2023, at 21:28
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